Tooth Decay and Liver Decay: The Nexus of Physicians and Dentists
Mountain Dew Mouth has been the scourge of dentists for decades. But there’s a new disease which affects even more people: Mountain Dew Liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) wasn’t even discovered until 1980; and now up to 1/3 of Americans suffers from it. Especially children – 13% of autopsies in children show NAFLD; and 38% of obese children.
Both tooth decay and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease rates have been increasing. And excessive sugar consumption explains both.
Dietary sugar is composed of one molecule each of glucose and fructose. It is the fructose that is the primary driver of both diseases. Fructose doesn’t contribute to the mouth biofilm. It is metabolized by the oral bacteria into lactic acid, which readily diffuses through the biofilm and into the tooth. Alternatively, fructose gets turned into fat in the liver mitochondria, which drives NAFLD, which is the leading cause of liver transplantation now, surpassing alcohol. And yet who is most susceptible to both diseases? Children, because they are the biggest sugar consumers.
Physicians and dentists must be united in supporting public health measures to reduce chronic disease. Altering our diet is where public health prevention starts.
This course is for dentists, residents, dental hygienists, dental assistants, spouses, and other team members.
- Describe why sugar not only destroys teeth but also causes liver disease
- Explain how the sugar molecules are metabolized to in the liver
- Plead a case for physicians and dentists to work together to reduce these chronic diseases